MIDI for Pedalboards: 10 Ways You Should Be Using MIDI as an Electric Guitarist

Leveraging MIDI to your greatest advantage

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5 min read

As an electric guitarist, you already know the importance of having the right gear for your instrument. From amplifiers to pedals, the right equipment can make all the difference in your sound. But have you considered adding MIDI to your setup?

MIDI, or the Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is a protocol that allows different instruments and devices to communicate with each other. In the world of electric guitar, MIDI can open up a whole new world of sound and creativity. Here are 10 ways you can start using MIDI in your guitar setup today.

1. Control Your Pedals with a MIDI Foot Controller

One of the simplest ways to start using MIDI is by using a MIDI foot controller to control your pedals. This allows you to switch between different pedals or settings with the tap of a button, without having to bend down and manually adjust each pedal. Why press 3 switches, when you could be instantly pressing multiple?

MIDI controllers come in all shapes an sizes - our BRIDGE6 is featured on this pedalboard. It controls the multiple MIDI pedals with much less tap-dancing.

2. Access More Sounds with a MIDI-Enabled Multi-Effects Pedal

Many multi-effects pedals now come with MIDI compatibility, giving you access to a wider range of sounds and settings. With MIDI, you can easily switch between different effects or presets, or even control parameters like delay time or reverb level. Many will even let you use an expression pedal to adjust a parameter like a knob rather than like a switch.

See all those knobs? You can twist them all to new positions with the press of a single button with MIDI!

3. Integrate Your Guitar with Digital Audio Workstations

MIDI can also be used to integrate your guitar with digital audio workstations (DAWs) like Ableton Live or Logic Pro. This allows you to record and manipulate your guitar parts in the digital realm, giving you greater control over your sound. Controlling punch-ins with a foot controller can save a lot of time!

Ableton Live, like most DAWs, has exceptional MIDI integration.

4. Expand Your Sound with Virtual Instruments

By connecting your guitar to a computer or virtual instrument, you can expand your sound beyond what is possible with just an amplifier and pedals. With MIDI, you can play virtual instruments like synthesizers, drum machines, and even orchestral instruments.

Even modelling plugins like Helix Native by Line6 have MIDI control integrated.

5. Create Custom Control Mappings

With MIDI, you can create custom control mappings to automate certain aspects of your sound. For example, you could map a footswitch to control the volume of your guitar, or automate a series of effects to turn on and off at specific times.

Our BRIDGE controllers have LFOs onboard which can modulate a MIDI-controllable parameter in sync with the tap tempo of whatever you’re playing!

6. Play with Backing Tracks and Loops

MIDI can also be used to play along with backing tracks and loops. By using a MIDI foot controller, you can easily start and stop the backing track or loop, allowing you to focus on your playing.

7. Trigger Samples and Effects

MIDI can also be used to trigger samples and effects in real-time. For example, you could trigger a drum sample when you play a specific chord, or add a reverb effect to your guitar when you play a solo.

8. Synchronise Your Rig with Other Devices

MIDI can be used to synchronise your rig with other devices, like drum machines, synthesisers, and even lighting systems. This allows you to create a cohesive and synchronised performance, adding a new level of excitement to your live shows.

9. Play with MIDI-Compatible Apps

There are also a growing number of MIDI-compatible apps available for both iOS and Android devices. These apps allow you to control different aspects of your sound, create custom MIDI mappings, or even play virtual instruments on the go.

BiasFX 2 is a amp and pedalboard simulator app for iPad - everything can be controlled by MIDI!

10. Experiment with New Sounds and Techniques

Finally, using MIDI in your guitar setup allows you to experiment with new sounds and techniques. With MIDI, the possibilities are endless, and you can always find new ways to express yourself creatively.


Adding MIDI to your guitar setup can greatly enhance your sound and creativity as an electric guitarist. Whether you're looking to control your pedals more efficiently, integrate your guitar with digital audio workstations, or experiment with new sounds, MIDI has something to offer. So why not start exploring the world of MIDI today and see what it can bring to your playing?

PIRATE MIDI’s BRIDGE6 and BRIDGE4 MIDI controllers are intuitive, powerful, and flexible with unmatched compatibility. Learn more!

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